As the year comes to a close, I want to share with you my review of a German mini-series film I watched this semester for my German class, Holiday Secrets (Zeit der Geheimnisse). The theme of the movie is Christmas, but it also has a mystery. You can either watch it in German with English subtitles or dubbed English. I chose the former. It is LGBTQ friendly.
This story takes place in Germany at a beach house and shows the narrative of four women from three generations, Eva, Sonja, Vivi, and Lara. Eva is played by Corrina Harfouch, who also starred in the movie ‘Lara’ at the 2020 German film festival. In this film though, one Christmas, Eva hosts a family reunion, and everyone shows up. The reunion is told in three parts and covers a lot of ground. What I liked were the outspoken, strong female leads.
The story has a past backstory that encompasses two dates. One is about Sonja’s youth, and the other is about her daughters, Lara and Vivi, when they were young. The story flips between these past periods and the present. In the two flashbacks, Sonja’s maternal grandmother, Alma, is portrayed as a wise but eccentric woman. The actor plays a strong supporting role. Here is a little bit about three of the main characters.
Vivi is one of Eva’s granddaughters and is complex and outspoken. She has a big heart for her grandmother. However, due to her inner struggles, she is a bit rebellious and listens to only herself. She does daring things like steal another woman’s boyfriend, a man who she knew in her youth. She has her heart for performing and is working hard to make her dream come true.
Lara is the other granddaughter and Vivi’s younger sister. She is intelligent and speaks her truth. She comes across as quiet and patient. Her demeanor often causes friction with Vivi. She is indecisive about a significant decision in her life.
The third POV is Lara and Vivi’s mother, Sonja. She is a free spirit who follows her own rules. She does things that ruffle feathers in the family, particularly with her mom, Eva. However, deep inside her heart is real, and she dearly cares for her family despite her actions.
This family will show you distinct aspects of its dysfunction, even though some members try hard to keep it together. One member has a mean husband who lives upstairs by himself. In one of the flashbacks, one member is planning to move to a place with her boyfriend against her family’s wishes. In the present, another woman changed her tune by accepting a job from a company she previously shunned due to certain practices.
The acting is passionate and real. I could see the characters’ emotions very quickly and connected to the main protagonists. The players bond over various facets of the film. The dynamics of the story go deep as the three generations expose their lives. One of the characters is in recovery, and despite the amount of drinking in the movie, she shows us how strong her program is. Another woman comes out of the closet and introduces the family to her girlfriend.
Like the title says, many secrets come out during this reunion. A big one surfaces regarding one of the girls’ fathers, creating another bump to go over. However, the main secret emerges from Eva that shocks everyone. This mysterious Christmas tale will warm your heart by the time it ends. I could go on about how much I enjoyed the story and I am recommending it to all. It is available on Netflix.
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Until Next Time,
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